US Press: pick of the papers

The ten must-read opinion pieces from today's US papers.

1. The Next Immigration Challenge (New York Times)

We must shift from an immigration policy of keeping newcomers out to an immigrant policy of encouraging migrants and their children to integrate into our social fabric, write Dowell Myers.

2. Mitt Romney and our overdue debate about capitalism (Washington Post)

Romney's biography starts an overdue debate, according to E. J. Dionne.

3. On Iran, how far is too far? (Los Angeles Times)

This editorial discusses how the car-bomb death of a nuclear scientist raises important questions about targeted assassinations.

4. Romney Makes History (Wall Street Journal) ($)

South Carolina is the last chance for most of his rivals, but the front-runner needs to better answer the Bain attacks, Karl Rove writes.

5. Help for military spouses (Politico)

It is time to address underemployment among those married to service members, says Laura Dempsey.

6. I'm Not Here To Make Friends (Slate)

Farhad Manjoo writes about Google's disastrous decision to muck up its search results with stuff from your social network.

7. Should science be censored? (Oregonian)

Decision-making of this sort requires more than the provenance of experts in virology and diplomacy: This is a question of ethics, Cynthia-Lou Coleman argues.

8. Quota system breaks down (Boston Globe) ($)

A nationwide shortage of the medicines used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is causing those diagnosed with the ailment undue stress, writes this editorial.

9. From public duty to family duty? (Oregonian)

People who really do put family first are undermined by all the fibbers. Melinda Henneberger investigates.

10. How the next 10 years of Guantanamo should look (Washington Post)

Three principles for a new detainee policy, written by Benjamin Wittes.

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Donald Trump's inauguration signals the start of a new and more unstable era

A century in which the world's hegemonic power was a rational actor is about to give way to a more terrifying reality. 

For close to a century, the United States of America has been the world’s paramount superpower, one motivated by, for good and for bad, a rational and predictable series of motivations around its interests and a commitment to a rules-based global order, albeit one caveated by an awareness of the limits of enforcing that against other world powers.

We are now entering a period in which the world’s paramount superpower is neither led by a rational or predictable actor, has no commitment to a rules-based order, and to an extent it has any guiding principle, they are those set forward in Donald Trump’s inaugural: “we will follow two simple rules: hire American and buy American”, “from this day forth, it’s going to be America first, only America first”.

That means that the jousting between Trump and China will only intensify now that he is in office.  The possibility not only of a trade war, but of a hot war, between the two should not be ruled out.

We also have another signal – if it were needed – that he intends to turn a blind eye to the actions of autocrats around the world.

What does that mean for Brexit? It confirms that those who greeted the news that an US-UK trade deal is a “priority” for the incoming administration, including Theresa May, who described Britain as “front of the queue” for a deal with Trump’s America, should prepare themselves for disappointment.

For Europe in general, it confirms what should already been apparent: the nations of Europe are going to have be much, much more self-reliant in terms of their own security. That increases Britain’s leverage as far as the Brexit talks are concerned, in that Britain’s outsized defence spending will allow it acquire goodwill and trade favours in exchange for its role protecting the European Union’s Eastern border.

That might allow May a better deal out of Brexit than she might have got under Hillary Clinton. But there’s a reason why Trump has increased Britain’s heft as far as security and defence are concerned: it’s because his presidency ushers in an era in which we are all much, much less secure. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.